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Bf 109 E-3
name:Bf 109 E-3
price:22,00 €
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color:light blue
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Werner Mölders became an innovator of air combat tactics and, thanks to his commanding qualities and personal character, his subordinates gave him the nickname " Vati " (Daddy). Werner "Vati " Mölders was born on March 18, 1913 in Gelsenkirchen. He joined the armed forces in 1931 before the Nazis started to rule the country. He served in the Prussian Infantry Regiment No. 2, but in 1934 he applied for pilot training. However, he was initially rejected for health reasons. The second attempt was already successful, but while flying he suffered continually from nausea and vomiting. However, he managed to overcome that. In July 1935 he was assigned to the Fliegergruppe Schwerin and in April he became an instructor at Schulstaffel JG 134. This fighter wing was later renamed JG 53 "Pik As". In April 1938 he was transferred to Spain to the Condor Legion, which fought on the side of the nationalists. In May he took over after "Dolfi" Galland 3./JGr. 88. Between July and November he achieved 14 victories and in December 1938 returned to Germany as the most successful German fighter in the Spanish Civil War. He received the Spanienkreuz in Gold with swords and diamonds. Based on his experience, he proposed a new concept for the deployment of German fighter units. Already in Spain, he initiated the use of a "finger four" fighter formation (Schwarm) and developed air combat tactics.


In March 1939 he became commander of the 1st Staffel of JG 53 and on September 20th he achieved over the French border his first victory in World War II. At the end of September 1939 he became commander of the newly created III. Gruppe of JG 53. Mölders had nine victories by the end of the "Phoney War". One of his victims was the Czech Cpl. Karel Körber from GC II / 3, who made an emergency landing at Toul on March 3, 1940 after a duel with Mölders. During the French campaign, Mölders shot down another 16 opponents. For his 20th victory since the beginning of the war, he was awarded the Knight´s Cross on May 27, 1940 as the first German fighter pilot. But on June 5 he was defeated in air combat. He was shot down by Sous Lieutenant René Pommier Layragues (6 victories) on D.520 from GC II/7 and Mölders spent three weeks in captivity.


In July 1940 he became Kommodore of Jagdgeschwader 51. On July 28 in his first combat flight with the new unit, he downed Spitfire from No. 41 squadron RAF flown by F / O Tony Lovell (16 v.) over Dover, but then Mölders was hit by F/Lt J. T. "Terry" Webster DFC . The German pilot suffered injuries, made an emergency landing in France, but injury kept him from further operational flying for a month.


He returned to air combat without the consent of doctors in early August 1940, and on September 20, he achieved his 39th and 40th victories in World War II, for which he received an Oak Leaves to the Knight´s Cross . At the time of the attack against the USSR had had 68 victories and already on June 22, he gained the four more resulting in awarded the Swords to the Knight´s Cross . He crossed Richthofen's limit of eighty victories on June 30, the day he recorded five victories. On July 15, 1941, he got his 100th and 101st victories since the beginning of the war and was the first German fighter to exceed the limit of 100 victories. For this performance he received Diamonds to the Knight´s Cross . At the beginning of August 1941 he was appointed Inspector of the fighter units and was forbidden to conduct combat flights. Despite this ban, however, he occasionally undertook combat flights with the units he visited and unofficially achieved further victories.


Mölders tragically died on November 22, 1941 during a flight to the funeral of Ernst Udet. Heinkel He 111, on whose deck he flew as passenger, crashed in Wroclaw in bad weather. In his memory, JG 51 adopted the combat name "Jagdgeschwader Mölders". His name was carried post-war by a Navy destroyer, the Bundesluftwaffe barracks in Visselhövede and the Jagdgeschwader 74. By 2005, his name had ceased to be used by these units, preceded by many years of debate at parliamentary level, the command of the armed forces and military historians.


Werner " Vati " Mölders completed over 400 combat flights, of which about 100 were done in Spain. He achieved a total of 115 air victories, of which 68 in the West and 33 against the Soviet Air Force.


Text: Jan "Králík" Bobek

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